Not All Omega-3s Are Created Equal
Omega-3 fatty acids have been attracting a lot of attention as more and more supermarkets stock their shelves with products enriched with Omega-3. While you may have heard about all of the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, it is important to know that there are three different kinds of Omega-3 and not all of them are equal.
3 Different Types
ALA, DHA and EPA are the three Omega-3 fatty acids. The body cannot create these vital fatty acids, so we must consume foods that contain them. Although ALA, EPA and DHA are all categorized as Omega-3 fatty acids, they are each very different, with different benefits.
The body converts ALA into the more vital nutrients EPA and DHA. Because the body converts ALA to EPA and DHA, it is unclear whether ALA has its own positive effects on health or whether it is merely beneficial as part of the conversion process.
Though ALA converts into EPA and DHA, the body uses these two fatty acids differently. EPA mainly functions as an anti-inflammatory and can aid in any condition that involves inflammation. On the other hand, DHA is present as a building block in every cell of the body, but it is especially important to the function and development of the nervous system, the brain, the eyes, and the cardiovascular system.
While DHA is essential to many of the body’s functions, only 5% of ALA is converted to DHA on average. This conversion is very inefficient, so it is much more efficient to consume DHA directly.
Not Enough DHA
Despite the importance of DHA to the body and the need to consume it directly, most people lack sufficient DHA in their diets. In fact, Americans have the lowest intake rate of any westernized country. On average, women consume 61mg per day and men consumer 78 mg per day, but the Adequate Intake of DHA outlined by the Institute of Medicine is 160mg per day.
These low levels of DHA are cause for concern because a lack of DHA can have wide-ranging effects on the body and general health. Because DHA is present in every cell, low levels of DHA can have negative effects on every part of the body. Most notably, low levels of DHA are linked to ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
Benefits Of DHA
DHA is present in every cell in the body, so a diet rich in DHA is important to overall health. Especially vital to cardiovascular, eye, and brain health, DHA is also important for expectant mothers and infants.
Increasing your intake of DHA is beneficial to the cardiovascular system because DHA can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It can also benefit the development and function of the eyes and brain, both of which are comprised partially of DHA. In order to reap the full benefits of DHA, increase your intake of DHA to meet or exceed the level recommended by the Institute of Medicine.
To learn more about how to add DHA into your diet, visit our Products Page and find out which Gold Circle Farms product is best for you and where you can find it.